The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
December 14, 2007 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed on Fridays via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's weekly update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.


The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Medical School’s new research space has just concluded, and what a great time we had. I want to thank you for celebrating this special day in Medical School history with me – and I am thankful that the weather held out. There are countless people to thank for the creation of this six-story research space, and we had some special guests join us, including Scott Caven, chair of the UT System Board of Regents; State Rep. Scott Hochberg; The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee; Gene Vaughan, vice chair of the Development Board; and many others.

But I would be remiss if I did not thank one very special person for making this day, which has been a dream for so long, a reality – Dr. Jim Willerson. Dr. Willerson was here for the Medical School that fateful day in June 2001, when we were awash in floodwaters, and he has been fighting for us ever since. He not only secured the funding for this building, but he also has made possible the brightest future for our physicians, educators, researchers, and students. He has given us the framework, now we must seize this moment and this opportunity and give it our all.

I hope you had the opportunity to attend the town hall meeting with Dr. Kenneth Shine earlier this week, when we were given an update on the presidential search process to replace outgoing president Dr. Willerson. Dr. Shine said that this will be an open and national search for which applicants are now being encouraged. He also stressed that there is no pre-anointed candidate, nor will there be a preference for internal or external candidates. I am honored to be on the search committee and am confident that we will find a candidate who will be the next great leader of our institution, with a well documented record of creativity, as proposed by Dr. Shine.

Speaking of leadership, I am pleased to tell you that Jorge Zambra, director of management operations for the departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, will become assistant to the dean Jan. 1. Jorge is an extraordinary human being, a talented administrator – very experienced with operations and management – and he will be working in support of the clinical departments. His first assignment will be to work closely with Dr. Susan John and the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging. We will have a faculty meeting with this department next week, and this department has my assurances that they will be supported, and together we will get on the right track.

I had a great meeting this week at LBJ Hospital. I cannot stress enough what a great group of chiefs Dr. Steven Brown has at this hospital – they have a constructive attitude, are positive, and are engaged. They are a great example to us all.

I also had a pleasant meeting with the hyperbaric group. There are three physicians, a nurse practitioner, and a research fellow in this prestigious group – one of just two hyperbaric groups in the state, and ours consistently ranks in the top 10 in the country. They treat wounds and lymphedema, and are exploring how to best fit in our group practice and hospital services. Let me know about your interactions with this outstanding group.

A wise man once said to me, “If we could just commit to the common good, this place could be heaven.”

That sage individual is someone you know, too – our own Dr. Red Duke. I am pleased to tell you that Dr. Duke has agreed to be our commencement speaker in May 2008 – this will be an address you don’t want to miss.

I am reminded of Dr. Duke’s quote when I think of the relative value unit (RVU) discussion, which continues at the Medical School. I met with the basic science chairs this week, and they are united on this topic. What I want to continue to stress is that the underlying root of this issue is the dearth of state funding – that being said, we will not disrupt our teaching mission, nor will we allow this issue to grow into a dispute between departments or into a competition of classes. Let us agree to commit to the common good.

And there is plenty of good news to share – this week two of our outstanding faculty members were honored at the Committee on the Status of Women banquet – Dr. Carmel Dyer and Dr. Margaret McNeese. This annual ceremony recognizes the importance of mentoring women and women role models. It makes me proud to see such accomplished individuals among us and knowing that they are passing their work ethic, knowledge, and skills on to the next generations is inspiring.

The group practice plan continues to do well, which is very good news. That is terrific work that we can all be proud of.

Have a great weekend,


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